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Art of Headshots

August 19, 2017

I recently had the opportunity to do a few headshot photography sessions. I found that headshot photography is very different from other forms of photography like glamour, fashion, even portrait.


Much of what I learned about shooting headshots, I learned it from my friend and fellow photographer, Philip Warnes and Peter Hurley’s “The Art Behind the Headshot” videos. From a business perspective headshot photography is exactly what it suggests, taking pictures of the subject’s face. Where portrait can be artistic and can cover anything from a person’s face to full body shot, headshot photography has a set of pre-defined rules and majority of times only covers the subjects’ heads. As a photographer, our task is to bring the best side of the subject’s face without much or any alteration.


From my experience, I learned it is really important to make the clients comfortable in front of the camera. Like any other photo sessions it is a given, but headshot sessions do require additional work, as the subject’s movements are vastly limited.


Since the focus is restricted to the face, you have to sculpt it with light and bring out the very best angle of the subject.


For photographing women, I used the front 3 light setup made popular by Peter Hurley. This technique removes any large shadows on the subject’s face and provides a night catch light on the subject’s eyes.




 Photo Credit for Lighting Setup Photo: Online Source


When photographing men, I used the three-light setup as well as two-light setup to create some shadows and drama.




 Photo Credit for Diagram: Online Source


For more techniques and lighting settings for headshot photography, check out Peter Hurley ( and other headshot artists’ tutorial videos, which are readily available on YouTube and other media.


Disclaimer: I was not paid and told to promote Peter Hurley’s works. I just found his style fascinating and his videos incredibly resourceful.


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@Sadik Masum Photography